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Scattered off the west coast of mainland Greece are the seven Ionian Islands, celebrated for their spectacular landscapes, olive groves and classical associations. Together with the mountainous mainland region of Epirus, the combined populations of Corfu, Paxos, Lefkas, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Kythira constitute less than a twentieth of the population of Greece, yet they have made a huge contribution to the culture of the country, before and since becoming part of the Greek state. The unsurpassed beauty of the islands and of the Pindus Mountains has stimulated the imagination of countless writers and artists from Homer to Byron, Edward Lear and the Durrells, Louis de Bernières and Nicholas Gage, as well as scores of nineteenth-century travellers.Drawing a mosaic portrait of the Ionian Islands and special places of interest in Epirus, Corfu resident Jim Potts focuses on the landscapes, legends, traditions and historical events that have appealed most strongly to the imaginations of writers, residents and travellers.

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    Fascinating but wandering journey

    I found the book gave a fascinating glimpse of the cultural history of the area. The structure was hard to comprehend as it does not work through time in a linear manner, nor deal with a specific location before moving on to the next. Some quotes seem to have been added without context, which adds to the confusion. The book is concerned mainly with Corfu and the mainland with little information about the other islands and assumes a significant knowkedge of literary figures; I found myself frequently having to look up bacground information elsewhere. Despite these criticisms I have enjoyed the book and learned a great deal.


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